Lookout Housing and Health Society now provides service in 11 communities across the lower mainland because each community needs shelters, affordable housing and emergency support services. Every community in Canada has a homeless population; in some cases homelessness is hidden (couch-surfing, sleeping in cars) or highly visible (in shop doorways or in public parks). Most homeless individuals try to stay in their own neighbourhoods where they feel safe and have friends. We believe helping people help themselves is essential in addressing homelessness and all the issues that surround it. Meeting people where they are at physically and emotionally is key to an individual future success.
There are often a combination of factors that lead to first becoming homeless, such as family breakdown, abuse, trauma, disability, addictions, illness and poverty. Research shows poverty is the #1 cause of homelessness, especially in Vancouver where housing costs are the highest in Canada. Securing appropriate housing is the first and most essential step in helping individuals achieve independence. People do not choose to be homeless. When homeless individuals are provided with appropriate permanent housing, the success rate for people staying housed is 80% to 90%.
Being homeless is unsafe. Those who experience homelessness are so vulnerable that it is critical to be able to provide them with a bed at an emergency shelter immediately, however, emergency shelters are often full and people are turned away. This is why Lookout is always looking for new an innovative spaces and way to house people. There are many stressors and difficulties associated with being homeless. The sooner people don’t need to fear where they will sleep the sooner they can deal with the causes of their situation.
Chronically homeless or “street-entrenched” individuals adapt to homelessness and can appear to be making a choice to remain homeless. Lookout outreach workers spend a great deal of time with these individuals building trust so they feel comfortable seeking help, shelter and housing.
We also do what we do because stories like these happen at Lookout sites across the region each and every day:
Post-Boulevard – Post-Secondary!
A guest, 25 was staying at the Boulevard shelter. He wanted to go back to school and find housing, so staff worked together to find this guest a job. He saved up enough money and was able to find a basement suite. When doing a follow up with him we discovered that he was still housed and now also enrolled in a post-secondary school!
5 Months Clean!
A Surrey health client recently had a relapse. Fortunately, she was able to go through recovery and has now been clean for 5 months!
Clients enjoy their new housing!
Two clients were recently housed in our Cloverdale facility. Slowly but surely getting more comfortable in their new home. The clients say that it’s amazing what a locked door and your own bathroom can do to help you feel at home!